Why do federal agencies like the Social Security administration and National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have law enforcement arms? Internet message boards and conspiracy websites have been buzzing in debate on this question after Alex Jones’s InfoWars called attention to a Social Security Administration solicitation for 174,000 rounds of “.357 Sig 125 grain bonded jacketed hollow point pistol ammunition” and a NOAA contract for 46,000 rounds of hollow point bullets along with 500 paper targets. The story emerged on the mainstream with a link from the Drudge Report and Fox News report resulting in many others now asking what do these agencies need to enforce with such firepower?

Fox News reports that the NOAA has said the bullets are meant for the Fisheries Office of Law Enforcement–after making what they claim was a “clerical error” in originally responding that the bullets were for the National Weather Service. A Social Security Administration blog post in response to concerns raised over their purchase indicates that the ammunition is for duty weapons for their special agents who are responsible for investigating violations of the laws that govern SSA’s programs.

In a political atmosphere where more and more Americans want smaller government, “Real News From The Blaze” Monday asked if Americans should be questioning the need for, and redundancy of, the various federal departments that have gun toting enforcers: